Good day all,
A couple weeks ago, Amie, Guinness, Pitaya, and I went on a trip to the interior of Alaska. We took a ferry from Juneau to Haines, drove to the Kenai peninsula to watch the men’s and women’s Mt Marathon race.
We spent a couple days exploring the kenai peninsula doing some fishing and some minor trail exploring. After we finished that we went back through anchorage and up to Talkeetna to visit the mayor: Stubbs the cat. Amie got to see Stubbs, though he was in meetings so we didn’t have a chance to meet with him.
We then proceeded to find someplace to camp for the evening. After locating a suitable spot, and getting everything set up, Pitaya proceeded to vomit frothy blood. As she had vomited pieces of chicken bone with flecks of blood around lunch, we decided it was best to take her into the vet.
We broke down camp just enough to load it into the truck with Guinness and Pitaya and proceeded to the nearest 24 hour vet, 1.5 hours away in palmer Alaska. After a short exam the vet determined Pitaya was symptomatically ok, and if we treated her as such, it would entail sulcralfate in a slurry solution 3x a day for 7 days, 1 pepcid tablet every morning for the next week. This course of treatment would help ensure any internal lacerations she may have incurred from chicken bone shards would heal.
If she got any worse (stopped eating, showed sensitivity in her abdomen, or vomited more blood) we would need to bring her back and she would likely need surgery.
Fortunately for all she didn’t get any worse, and is now back to normal health and puppy ridiculousness.
The next day we proceeded to Denali national park and spent much of the day enjoying the park and watching a dog sled display. Due to the restrictions preventing motorized vehicles from accessing much of the park, dog sleds are used extensively to navigate the park in the winter. It was pretty interesting to see how excited the dogs got when they realized they were going to get to pull a sled. Lots of howling and running around begging to be chosen for the duties.
After Denali, we had dinner in Fairbanks and continued towards home. Camping just outside of North Pole. On Friday morning we were on the road again, and booked for the Saturday evening ferry from Haines to Juneau.
With 2 more days we were still hoping to find the elusive spot where our tackle and fishing technique (or lack thereof) would catch us some fish and we could enjoy. Thus far we spent at least a little bit of time most every day casting and retrieving at numerous lakes, creeks, and ponds along the route. Though we had hooked 3 or 4 fish between us, we were unable to successfully land anything except a few 4 - 5 inch pike and a couple other 3 - 4 inch trout like fish.
Amie had 1 or 2 fish that were around 10 or 12 inches, though they managed to escape just before being hoisted onto the dock or bank.
We stopped at one lake to try our luck and where told of another lake which we could hike about 1 mile into and there was a public use canoe. Though we were hopeful as we'd seen numerous fish jumping around places not easily accessible from the banks, at most of our stops, we were tired and not up for 2 miles of hiking. Honestly we may very well have done the walk if we thought there was a good chance of catching fish. Our spirits were just not that high.
While waiting for the pilot car at one of the sections of construction, I was talking to the construction guy and mentioned that we are exploring the interior, doing some fishing. He suggested we try gardiner creek and devils lake. The arctic greyling were biting on most anything, and particularly liked white grubs in gardiner creek.
Our hopes were refreshed and we set of in search of gardiner creek. Taking a small detour down a dead end near Northway Junction to where we thought we would find gardiner creek. No luck, so back on the road.
Back on the road towards tok and Canada, we came upon gardiner creek. It was easy to access from the road, so we stopped to try our luck.
The creek itself was unimpressive with what at first appeared to be only 50 or so feet of fishable bank. We decided to try our luck.
Within 3 or 4 casts, we had snagged a couple lures on various sticks and twigs. 1 required Amie to go up to the road and cross the bridge before clambering down the bank on the other side to free her lure.
Within a couple casts of that, Amie had a bite, and successfully landed a female arctic greyling, easily identifiable by the large sail like dorsal fin. We were pretty excited, we would have fresh fish. After a few more casts, Amie was going to see if she could access the creek on the other side of the bridge.
I opted to try a few more casts from here. Before long, i had a fish on and landed a male arctic greyling (the males are larger, and have a much larger dorsal fin). We now had 2 fish and renewed enthusiasm.
We went to the north side of the bridge to try our luck up there. Amie landed 2 more arctic greylings, a male and a female. I continued fishing for a little longer, and had 2 or 3 more bites, but couldn't manage to land them.
We decided that we had enough fish and should be on the road. We drove into Canada and found a nice lake setting to have dinner and possibly camp.
We pulled off and i started the coals for cooking. Amie purchased a steak for my birthday, so we were going to have steak, peppers and onions, and fresh arctic greyling for a birthday dinner.
During our preparations, Sven, a German currently living in and touring Canada stopped by the lake. We shared our dinner with him and talked a little bit. he was planning to head to barrow. the northernmost city in Alaska. Something Amie and I discussed, but decided to avoid the additional 1,000 miles of driving that would have required.
We were on the road again hoping to make it to a roadside cafe that had frosties before they closed. We made it with 10 minutes to spare, and had reeses peanut butter cup frosties for desert. We found a pull off that we camped at that night.
In the morning we got up and made our way back to the U.S. and into Haines to spend the day before our 5pm ferry departure.
We stopped in the local tackle shop and got some advice. They recommended we try Chilkoot lake and possibly river for some Dolly Varden. We picked up some new bait and hooks and were on our way.
After about 40 minutes of no luck at the lake we headed back towards town. On the drive we saw a man carrying a good size fish along the road, so stopped to fish a bit.
Amie was tired, and opted to read a little while i fished. After 20 minutes or so of working along the shore and catching a couple 3 - 4 inch fish, i hooked into a decent sized Dolly Varden and would add it to our collection of fresh fish.
We hung out in Haines for several hours, let the dogs run around in the park, and got some lunch before heading to the ferry terminal.
After waiting a couple hours to load onto the ferry, we got on, parked, and made our way upstairs for the 4.5 hour trip back to Juneau. After a bit of musical chairs and sandwiches, we were docking in Juneau.
A short drive home and we were once again at home and sleeping in our bed. Everybody, especially Guinness and Pitaya were happy to be home.
Some photos of our adventures, including moose, bear, fish, and some of our camping spots can be found in the photo links below.
My photos (Amie took many of these)